A chapter in indonesia's political history is coming to an end. After fourteen years the?
GV INTERIOR PAN ALONG Male and female prisoners in sports stadium ((2 shots)
CU Prisoners standing in stadium (2 shots)
CU Prisoner reading Oath while others swear allegiance
CU Military officers
CU PAN ALONG Prisoners with raised hands in allegiance oath
CU Military officers
SV PAN ALONG Women prisoners reading from pamphlets
CU Prisoners with hand on bible and taking oath (2 shots)
CU Prisoners signing statement renouncing communism as other prisoners look on (3 shots)
CU Officers shaking hands with prisoners
CU Prisoners embracing relatives
BEUTLER: "For these 70 men and women paraded in this sports stadium in Jogyakarta, it's been a long wait for freedom. Most of them have been languishing in primitive jails in Indonesia for the last 14 years. They've never been brought to trial. The government dubs them B category prisoners, that means it can't find enough evidence against them to bring them to court. These are the last of the B category prisoners to be released en masses and this ceremony marks the end of a programme which has seen thirty thousand people like these, set free in the last two years. In the wave of slaughter that swept Indonesia after the attempted coup, several hundred thousand people were killed and more than half a million others were thrown in jail. Most had been set free by 1973, but by the end of 1977 there were still 30-thousand people being held. Many of them, more than one-third in fact were on the prison island of Buru in eastern Indonesia. After this ceremony only 105 in the B category will remain, they include one of Indonesia's leading modern authors, Pumudia Anantatur (phonetic) who has written several novels........while in detention. The government says Pumudia and his friends have not shown they're ready to be released, but still promises to let them go by Christmas. This fulfils the overall promise to release or bring to trial all political prisoners by the end of this year. A total of twenty-three are to stand trial. As with the hundreds of thousands who've gone before them these men and women have to prove that they've been rehabilitated. They have to sign a statement renouncing communism and it must be remembered that they've been in jail all this time because the government can't prove they're communists. They have to swear allegiance to the Indonesian government and the five principles of Pancasila, the country's loosely based philosophy. The tears and the joy tell the story of the past and the prospects for the future. After 1965 the lives of these men an women changed in a way they'd never expected. Now they're changing again, but guilty or not hundreds of thousands of Indonesians like these will wear the stigma of being communists to their graves."
REPORTER: WARWICK BEUTLER
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A chapter in indonesia's political history is coming to an end. After fourteen years the government is closing its political detention camps and releasing the last of the suspected communists who have been held without trial since an abortive coup in 1965. Two thousand of them have just been released, leaving about a hundred still to be either freed or tried. The latest release took place at Jogyakarta and Warwick Beutler of the Australian Broadcasting Commission was there.